Monday, May 12, 2008

Streetwise: Rowan Williams on Suffering and God-Talk

'The resolution of the sheer resistant particularity of suffering, past and present, into comfortable teleological patterns is bound to blunt the edge of particularity, and so to lie; and this lying resolution contains that kind of failure in attention that is itself a moral deficiency, a fearful self-protection. It is just this that fuels the fantasy that we can choose how the world and myself shall be.’

'The world is such - is, independently of our choice and our fabrication - that we cannot think away particulars into comprehensive explanatory systems; the world is such that attention to particularity is demanded of us. If we are to speak of God, can we do so in a way that does not amount to another evsion of the world? There is a way of talking about God that simply projects on to him what we cannot achieve - a systematic vision of the world as a necessarily inter-related whole. Trust in such a God is merely deferred confridence in the possibility of exhaustive explanation and justification; and deferred confidence of this sort is open to exactly the same moral and logical objection as any other confidence in systemic necessity of this kind in the world. A God who essential function is to negate the 'otherness' and discontinuity of historical experience, and so to provide for us an ideal locus standi, a perspective transcending or reconciling discontinuity into system, is clearly an idol, and an incoherent one at that...'

Rowan Williams, 'Trinity and Ontology', On Christian Theology, p. 155,6

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